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Tag Archives: efficiency

Cellphone Skin Could Capture Its Own Radio Signals, Harvest Some Energy


It’s claimed that up to 97% of a cellphone’s radio signals are simply lost, most of the time simply trying to find nearby towers, or just staying connected to your router. Researchers at The Ohio State University are developing a product that could extend current battery life by up to 30% by harvesting a portion of these wasted signals.

There are some products newly on the market that harvest stray radio signals to charge tiny wireless devices such as temperature sensors. But the Ohio State invention is many times more powerful and efficient, said Robert Lee, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

To communicate, today’s portable devices broadcast radio signals—that is, high-frequency AC—a portion of which the Ohio State rectifier system captures and converts back to DC. Its trick is to siphon off just enough of the radio signal to noticeably slow battery drain, but not enough to degrade voice quality or data transmission.

The researchers are currently working on a skin that could be applied to your phone and would do the job of harvesting this lost energy. But the aim is to eventually work at the OEM level, directly with phone manufacturers, to help them extend devices’ battery lives. When and if it ever does make it to market, the engineers expect it to cost around $100.

[ PhysOrg ] VIA [ DamnGeeky ]

Uglify Your Car In The Name Of Aerodynamics With The Gaspods

Gas is expensive, ain’t it? Everyone except maybe the residents of Venezuela (who pay around $.15 per gallon) are suffering and manufacturers are doing everything they can to convince us they’re working on making cars more efficient. But are they? If progress on that front isn’t swift enough to your taste, you could always take matters into your own hands. Improving the aerodynamic coefficient of your car would increase its mileage, so Bob Evans, an American industrial designer, came up with the GasPods. These are aftermarket… “airfoils” that allegedly reduce drag by “expanding, organizing, and enhancing the airflow” coming off the back of the vehicle. A set of ten such airfoils placed on the rear of the roof of the car reduce drag by 5%, and adding a few more along the sides on the rear increases that efficiency to 6.7%. The wind-tunnel and PC-simulation tested pods feature rare earth magnets behind a rubber base, so they can be easily attached to your car and just as easily removed once you’ve had enough of people laughing at you.

But hey, if it saves you money in the long run, who cares how much people laugh? The product itself is cheap enough, with them being “$29.95 for a set of three adhesive-backed pods in a stock color, and up to $124.95 for a custom-painted set of nine magnetic pods.”

Hit the jump for pictures and links.

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Fight The Frigid Winter With The Radiator Booster

By David Ponce

Radiators are pretty inefficient heating machines. They don’t, for instance, radiate so much as make the wall they’re leaning up against really hot. That’s lost efficiency right there since the heat that went into the wall or even the ceiling right above the radiator is heat that didn’t go into preventing you from freezing. With winter pretty much here, something like this Radiator Booster could prove to be useful. It sits right atop your current heater and hooks up into a wall socket for power. With an internal thermostat, all it has to do it detect when your radiator is sending out heat at 30C degrees or above, then it turn some fans on and shoots the hot air out into the room. It claims to be able to recirculate the air in an average room within 90 minutes. Since it’s not on unless you’re actively heating, the Radiator Booster doesn’t waste any energy idling. And since your room will be more evenly heated, you can turn down your thermostat by 1 to 3 degrees, saving you an average of $225 yearly in heating fees.

The best part is it’s not very expensive, at $40.

[ Product Page ] AND [ Retailer Selling It ] VIA [ Gizmag ]